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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

The companion to a New York Times Editors' Choice and Kids' Indie Next List Pick--a heart-pounding adventure starring a strong heroine who is battling the challenges of being a legend--perfect for reading aloud with the whole family. "Exciting, fast-paced, and beautifully written! The perfect follow-up to the first book, and by the end, readers will be clamoring for more!" --Jennifer A. Nielsen, New York Times Bestselling Author of The False Prince In this Scottish medieval adventure, after attempting a daring rescue of her war-band family, Drest learns that Lord Faintree's traitorous uncle has claimed the castle for his own and convinced the knights that the lord has been slain . . . by her hand. Now with a hefty price on her head, Drest must find a way to escape treacherous knights, all the while proving to her father, the "Mad Wolf of the North," and her irrepressible band of brothers that she is destined for more than a life of running and hiding. Even if that means redefinin…

Overall Book Review:

The Hunt for the Mad Wolf’s Daughter is a historical adventure set in thirteenth-century Scotland. In this novel, Diane Magras chronicles the further adventures of Drest, the heroine introduced in The Mad Wolf’s Daughter. Drest is a fiery, independent young girl set on protecting herself, her family, and the lord of her land. Unlike most young women of the time, she was raised to be a warrior and so just may be capable of fulfilling those goals. Middle grade students will find plenty to enjoy about this book, particularly middle grade girls. While Drest clearly steals the show, the cast of characters includes several other well-imagined characters, particularly Drest’s family. The plotline sets heroes against villains in a very clear delineation of good and evil, honorable and dishonorable, and this makes it an ideal story for young readers.

The plot is exciting and moves along at a quick place. However, some aspects of the plot seem like they fall into place a little too easily and that things are a little too convenient to seem realistic. This will not be likely to deter many children from enjoying the story, since children often like tidy stories with expected outcomes.

Most characters in the book are richly-developed, but the lord of the land, who has a fairly significant role in the story, is helpless to the point that it seems almost comic, even though the author does not use a joking tone when describing his ineptitude. It seems as if he was maybe meant to be comic relief but the author never delivers any punch line so that you’re not sure if he’s there for comedy or just dead weight for the other characters to have to struggle with. His vanilla character is really the only downside to this book.

All in all, this is a good read. It is the second in a series, and you should not read this book without first reading The Mad Wolf’s Daughter. I read this one on its own and was able to pick up on what had happened in the first one, but there were huge holes that were left blank or just mentioned in passing that I am sure would have been filled by the first book. It is more of a continuous story in a separate book than a stand-alone sequel.

Review of an Advance Reading Copy

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Kathy Dawson Books

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language: 29 religious exclamations.

Violence/Gore:  A character considers killing another; report of characters chained uncomfortably for days; a few verbal threats; mention of a past fight; a few reports of deaths; report of past arson; characters find a village burned; description of how various castle defenses worked (in the glossary); mention of historical wars (in the author’s note); mention of historical sentences for crimes such as death or losing a hand (in the author’s note); an adult character chases a young girl and knocks her down; a character dodges crossbow bolts while fleeing; characters are chased by soldiers; a character pushes another into a burning building without description of injury; a fight with no major injury; a battle using medieval weapons with  a few deaths, but no details of injuries; a character drowns.

Sex/Nudity:  Characters hug a few times; characters hold hands several times; characters of the opposite gender sleep next to each other for warmth and to share a blanket.

Mature Subject Matter:

Bounty hunting; reference to the practice of forcing girls to marry for an advantageous alliance (in the author’s note); medieval battle; death.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Characters drink ale; characters chew herbs with medicinal properties.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

My taste in literature leans heavily towards sci-fi, fantasy, and (my favorite) horror, and the latter can present some fairly murky waters for parents to let their children explore. I enjoy novels of both the standard and graphic varieties. Since those genres, and graphic novels in particular, tend to appeal to boys, I hope that I can help other Boy Mommies in their quest to find books that their little video gamers--I mean, future bibliophiles will read and enjoy. When I am not reading, I enjoy tabletop role-playing games, video games, and singing karaoke. I have a wonderful husband who lets me indulge my reading habit by sharing the housework and being a great dad to our genius kids and their faithful hound.